A series of six hui titled ‘Growing From Strong Foundations – Exploring the Potential of the National Curricula for all Children’, co-hosted by NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Ministry, kicked off a conversation in 2018 among educators about curriculum, progress and achievement.

At the same time, the Curriculum, Progress and Achievement Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG), established by the Minister of Education to provide advice on strengthening use of the curricula to lift student progress and achievement, began discussing the principles and challenges that would help to shape their advice.

MAG Chairperson Mary Chamberlain said the advice aims to “build on the great practice that exists in our schools and kura”.

“We want to support schools and kura to work with their communities to design and implement responsive local curricula and rich learning experiences for learners.”

A sector Reference Group began what would become a series of conversations within their existing networks to hear about current experiences of curriculum, progress, aromatawai and assessment in kura and schools, and discuss the MAG’s emerging ideas.

In all, the MAG and Reference Group heard from hundreds of educators, students, parents, whānau, iwi and communities across New Zealand.

Personal highlight

In her review of 2018, NZEI Te Riu Roa President and Reference Group member Lynda Stuart said that she was “excited about the focus [with the removal of National Standards] on what our curriculum should and could look like in a holistic context rather than being in the space that we have been in where there has been a tendency to just focus in on literacy and numeracy”.

“It is really exciting to be grappling with what is important for our learners and moving forward with our students’ needs firmly in the centre.”

NZPF President Whetu Cormick, also a member of the Reference Group, described “being able to again embrace our broad, rich New Zealand Curriculum” as a personal highlight of 2018.

Acknowledging teachers and kaiako

Associate Deputy Secretary for Early Learning and Student Achievement Pauline Cleaver says keeping teachers and kaiako front of mind has been one of the MAG’s guiding principles.

“Not only do they want to acknowledge the status and quality of teachers, they want their ideas to lead to greater efficiencies for all teachers, principals and boards, and for the system as a whole.”

Pauline expects the MAG’s recommendations will give greater clarity for teachers and kaiako about the learning that matters most for learners.

“We know schools and kura need more support to work with their communities to design relevant and engaging local curricula, so the MAG has been thinking about how we can achieve that, and make sure that teachers have quick and efficient access to quality resources, including tried and tested resources and approaches that have worked for others.”

Strengthening collaborative inquiry networks to build and share knowledge among educators is another idea the MAG has been considering to help spread good practice so individual teachers and kaiako aren’t working in isolation to solve common problems.

The Minister will consider the MAG’s recommendations and next steps before reporting to Cabinet in term 1.

Upcoming curriculum support package

In the meantime, the Ministry is providing a package of support on local curriculum for schools and kura in early 2019, including workshops with teacher-release time, guidance, and tools. The workshops will complement the guidance available to schools using The New Zealand Curriculum. The guidance will support principals to work with their staff during teacher-only days and throughout the year on developing and delivering a local curriculum.

For kura using Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, the Ministry has developed He Rauemi Tautoko Mā Ngā Kura Māori, which includes information on aromatawai, support for developing marau ā-kura (including the development of the graduate profile), using inquiry and evidence, and reporting to students, whānau, boards of trustees and iwi. This guidance is available now from Te Marautanga o Aotearoa TKI.

Schools and kura may also use the Local Curriculum Design Tool or Rapua Te Ara Tika to support the development of their local curriculum or marau ā-kura.

Source: Education Gazette

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